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What is wrongful termination in California?

Some people think that if you get fired from a job in California, 0you don't have any recourse possible against the employer. While that is true in some cases because of the at-will relationship between employers and employees, there are some instances in which being fired would fall under the legal umbrella of wrongful termination. Knowing some basic facts about wrongful termination might help you to determine if your being relieved of your position was legal or illegal.

Can I be fired for making a complaint about discrimination?

Generally, you cannot be fired for filing a complaint about discrimination. California, as well as other states, have laws that forbid discrimination in the workplace. There are also federal laws in place to stop people from being fired because of any form of discrimination. If you are let go because you brought a discrimination complaint against the company, that is considered retaliation, which falls under the wrongful termination laws.

Can I be fired for refusing to do something illegal?

In most cases, being fired for refusing illegal activities would be considered wrongful termination. Illegal activities aren't limited to those that involve activities such as selling drug or laundering money. Illegal activities can also be things like failing to follow established safety guidelines.

Can I be fired for taking a leave from my job?

Employers can't fire you for taking a leave from your job as long as the leave falls under certain laws and you executed the leave in the proper manner. You have rights that are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act as long as your case meets the requirements set forth in the law. Taking time off to vote or handle military duty matters are some other examples of what shouldn't lead to you being fired from your job.

It is important to note that specific cases are likely to have very specific points that might make the matter of proving wrongful termination a little more complex. For this reason, anyone who feels like they have been wrongfully terminated should learn more about the laws that might apply to their case.

Source: FindLaw, "Was I Wrongfully Discharged From My Job?" Sep. 04, 2014

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